A service that changes lives

17th December 2020

The service and support provided by Copeland Age and Advice Service (CAAS) is life changing according to one of its beneficiaries who received over £3,000 of backdated allowances he was entitled to: “You have genuinely changed my life; I cannot thank you enough for all your help and support. It’s a fantastic service and I would recommend you to all of my family and friends,” he said.

Launched in October 2019, £10,000 from the Cumbria Fund has since enabled CAAS and its 40 volunteers to support around 2,000 local residents, including increasing the income of pensioners with backdated payments totalling £166,612 to support them with independent living.

The team, based in Cleator Moor provide information, advice and guidance to anyone aged 55 and over in Copeland in relation to financial matters, housing issues and independent living. Its key aim is to give the older generation the opportunity to live fulfilled and independent lives, through the provision of its personalised advice and support.

CAAS is also supporting people to become more digitally enabled, working with various partner agencies to help people learn how to use IT equipment, such as smart phones and laptops to help them stay connected to family and friends, helping to reduce isolation and loneliness.

Rebecca Goddard, Operations Director, said: “We are delighted with how well our service has been received, not only by our older generation but by local statutory and non-statutory services alike. Through our detailed holistic assessments, we support each client to access their full range of needs, all within the comfort of their own home.

“Our services continue to grow and develop, and we are adapting these to meet the needs of older people. We are working hard to develop our dementia support services, working in partnership with Cumbria County Council, Dignity in Dementia and the Alzheimer Society to deliver vital services to those living with dementia and their carers throughout Copeland.

“We are also part of the domestic violence support group and we work alongside relevant agencies to ensure that any older clients that are at risk of abuse are given the support and information they need to access the relevant help they require at that time.”

The staff have many years’ experience in supporting older people in Copeland along with a large network of contacts in relevant fields such as Health Care Professionals, Health and Social Care staff and a variety of third sector organisations. They are qualified Trusted Assessors as well as agents for the DWP and have a shared passion to support the vulnerable older generation in a caring and compassionate manner.

When the pandemic hit, the team were unable to carry out home visits and had to adapt their services. They set up a help line, contacting clients to check on their wellbeing, and distributed over 200 anti-boredom packs.